It’s easy to feel behind the ball when it comes to online apps, social channels & tools. All of these things are evolving, improving and intermingling at blistering speeds. At Magnify Digital, we’re lucky to be constantly researching and using these tools. For if we didn’t, I frankly don’t know how we could stay on top of it all. I sympathize with those wishing they were more in the know, but simply cannot dedicate entire days reading and trying new things.
So for all those people, here is one trend you can choose to get in front of: Mobile!
Photo by Tony Chang
Mobile everything: Mobile content. Mobile coupons. Mobile games. Mobile applications.
We are now at a time in history when people would actually prefer to lose their wallets over their mobile phones. This speaks to not only the dependency people have on these devices, but also the ubiquity of their usage in every way.
Some predict that within five years, more people will use their phones to get online than their computers.
There are approximately 23 million mobile subscribers in Canada, according to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association. Currently, it is estimated smart phones (like iPhones, Blackberries and Androids) have 12% market penetration in Canada.. which, admittedly isn’t that huge…yet. But if the relentless lineup for the new iPhone isn’t evidence of a soon-to-be sharp increase to that number, I don’t know what is.
People use mobile devices for the obvious: phone & text.
But a swelling number of people now use their mobile devices for the less obvious: bank, buy, photograph, explore, play, read, listen, discover, take notes, scan, gain admission/access to events, record video, find friends, track spending, donate to charity, and expand music and video collections.
So now is a good time to be asking how you, your business/organization, or your website can adjust to accommodate these less obvious activities.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Explore QR codes to enhance communication with your audience
- Consider creating a mobile app. Mobile apps range from complex, expensive programs to something of simpler design. For example, an app could be a game, a simple tool that relates to your business, or the app could simplify a process for your customers.
- Offer mobile coupons
- Claim your business on location-based tools like Foursquare or Gowalla, and then offer specials and/or engage with those customers using those tools
- If your website is flash-heavy or is text-heavy, consider having a mobile version of your website so it’s easier to see and use on a smaller device. Here is a handy article about this.
- Develop an SMS marketing plan
- Ensure your business or organization is listed on local directories like Google Maps, Yelp, UrbanSpoon, AroundMe, etc..
There are already numerous ways to create a mobile strategy for your business, and more ideas are thought of every minute. This is just the tip of the iceberg… which is all the more reason to take action now.
I was at a friend’s place last night watching some Olympic Hockey. Eventually the group of us got hungry and decided to order in some Chinese food. Problem: none of us knew of any good and/or nearby Chinese restaurants.
Within seconds, two iPhones came out. We ‘UrbanSpooned’ a place nearby and then hopped online to read more reviews of the food. Within 10 minutes we had 6 dishes chosen based on favourable reviews. Without even consulting the restaurant’s menu, we went ahead and ordered based solely on the opinions of strangers.
Dinner arrived. Every dish was a winner.
After that, some of us contributed our own reviews, and added the restaurant to our mobile contact lists.
The irony is, if this restaurant had a website, we wouldn’t have easily found it. Yet, there were multiple sources in which to find information about it and its dishes. The point here is if you don’t take control of your online strategy, others will.
Swap out this restaurant for any other kind of business – say an airline, or a financial institution and you can quickly see how joining the online conversation already happening about your brand or product is critical. The goal isn’t to stop people from talking about you. (Quite the opposite in fact.) The goal is to listen. Be a part of the conversation. And be responsive.
Think of it not as being in the driver’s seat, but as drawing the map people follow.
What’s your experience?